7-Eleven pioneered the convenience store concept way back in 1927 at the Southland Ice Company in Dallas, Texas. In addition to selling blocks of ice to refrigerate food, an enterprising ice dock employee began offering milk, bread and eggs on Sundays and evenings when grocery stores were closed. This new business idea produced satisfied customers and increased sales, and convenience retailing was born!
The company’s first convenience outlets were known as Tote’m stores since customers “toted” away their purchases, and some even sported genuine Alaskan totem poles in front. In 1946, Tote’m became 7-Eleven to reflect the stores’ new, extended hours – 7 a.m. until 11 p.m., seven days a week. The company’s corporate name was changed from The Southland Corporation to 7-Eleven, Inc. in 1999.
Today, 7-Eleven is the undisputed leader in convenience retailing with more than 21,000 stores operating in the U.S. and 16 other countries and total sales of more than $27 billion in 1999.